Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chicken & Noodles over Mashed Potatoes

My friend Shirlene requested this recipe so I thought I would share it with everyone. It is one of the yummy comfort foods from The Food Nanny rescues dinner cookbook!

1 1/2 to 2 pounds, skinless chicken breasts
4 cups chicken broth
6 medium russet potatoes (about 2 lbs), peeled & cut into 2 inch chunks
2 Tbs butter
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk
salt and ground black pepper
6 ounces uncooked wide egg noodles
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (optional)
1/2 cup water (optional)
2 cups frozed peas, thawed (optional)

1. Put the chicken and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat, cover, and simmer 18-20 minutes, until the chicken is tender and no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the pot to cool, reserving the broth in the pan.

2. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in another pot and cover with water. Add a few shakes of salt and bring to a boil. Cover, decrease the heat to simmer, and continue cooking until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain.

3. Remove the pot from the heat and, mash the potatoes in the pot with a mixer or potatoe masher. Add the butter, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm.

4. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, tear the meat into pieces with two forks. Stir the chicken pieces into the broth and place over high heat.

5. When the broth boils, add the noodles. When it boils again, decrease the heat to medium and cook the noodles until tender-following package directions.

NOTE: For thicker broth, make a paste by whisking 1/2 cup flour into 1/2 cup cold water in a small bowl until smooth. Pour a little of the paste into the pot after the noodles are cooked. Stir well until blended and boil for one minute, adding more thickening as desired.

6. Optional: Stir in the peas until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. To serve, mound the mashed potatoes in the center of the platter and ladle the chicken mixture over it. Season generously with additional salt and pepper.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Crappy Day Lessons and White Chili Recipe

15 hrs grad school + Being mom+ track season= no time for blogging Not that I haven't wanted to blog, but it seems grad school has taken over my life. I was dwelling on the fact that I have missed out on so much of life this year as I have been stuck in the textbooks and behind the computer working on papers and class assignments. I have had to miss lots of church meetings and events, which really makes me upset. I have had to miss my kids activities, track meets, boys scout stuff, everything!! Yesterday I was having my own little pitty party. Man was I dwelling in it! I guess the end of semester action research paper, coupled with the rainy, cold, dreary day was really getting the best of me! I lost two very important pieces of research data. I burned dinner (in the microwave....how do you do that??) and to top it all off I broke my favorite serving bowl that my mom got me for my birthday last year (in the microwave...it cracked with the burned food in it.) So I had a good cry and then started praying. Praying...over a broken bowl, a broken attitude, a broken year. The Holy Spirit welled up inside me and poured on the positive and reminded me of the many blessings that I have been given this year, and just yesterday. I didn't find the missing data, but the Holy Spirit reminded me of the answers and I recreated the missing data. My bowl didn't piece itself back together....but He reminded me that there are 6 other bowls, smaller but still, it wasn't the only one, and my pretty red bowl just has a crack...I can still use it for something, maybe a flower pot? The kids had cereal for dinner..which they thought was super cool...and I punished myself for the bad attitude and ate nothing. I went and put on my fuzzy zebra print pajamas and got back to work on my research paper. You know what? I completed that research paper in record time! I had scheduled at least three days to get that thing done...instead I got it done in a little less than 24 hours! The Holy Spirit reminded me that it's satan that is trying to bring me down but my God is bigger than ANY crappy day that statan tries to bring me down with...and my God has the POWER to end any crappy day with VICTORY! So today I am thankful for that reminder. I am looking at the positives and the blessings, and reminding myself that God has POWER over my life. Nothing satan does or puts in my mind has a chance as long as I rely on God. He has promised never to leave or forsake me....{especially on the crappy days]. —Isaiah 26:3-4 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. I woke up today with a fresh outlook and God gave us a gorgeous, warmer, sunny day today! Dinner might have burned last night, but my house smells amazing with tonights dinner in the crockpot (recipe below). I have one research paper completed and only 7 more big assignments left. I only have 103 days until I graduate with my Masters degree! The flowers are blooming and summer is close.

I have a healthy new nephew...Cade Emerson Peters...what an amazing reminder of God's awesome power!

Dwell on the blessings and Pray when satan tries to get you dwelling on anything else! The Holy Spirit will rush to rescue you from the battlefield of your mind!

White Chili Crock Pot Recipe

1 lb great northern beans soaked

1 med onion chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced

2 4-ounce cans green chilies

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 boneless skinless chicken breast (I threw it in frozen then pulled it apart with form when it was cooked)

6 cups of water

6 chicken boulion cubes

Put all ingredients in crock pot. Stir to mix thoroughly. Cover, cook on low 10-12 hrs, high 6-8 hrs.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

A Prayer For My Friend

Have a friend heavy on my heart today. This song says it all, so I will keep it short!

Busy Busy- Having a Merry Heart In A Martha World

Spring semester of grad school is off with a bang. I have been burried with chapters and chapters and more chapters. I am also tutoring a struggling reading student for the semester as part of my requirements.

All this on top of an already hectic life. Is it ironic that in the beginning of January I started leading an online book club at FaithSisters.com? More like, it is just what God knew I needed! Another one of His fingerprints in my life, leading me to choose THIS book - Having a Merry Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver.

Have you ever read a book and thought, this was written just for me? If you are a busy person like me, then this book was written just for you! God is really using this book to speak to me about lots of things in my busy chaotic life.

This weeks chapter has released me from feeling guilty for giving up some of my "stuff" that I have taken on. While there are many needs, God has not asked ME to meet every one. Why do I always feel like I have to volunteer to do things? Then I have myself stretched so thin that when the Holy Spirit does ask something of me, I am either to busy with something else, or too exhausted to do what God really wants me to do...not to mention the fact that sometimes I am so busy with "stuff" that I don't even have time to hear Him calling me.

Last semester I was forced to let go of some things that I consider very important, like being an AWANA leader, due to my busy grad school schedule. I have felt so guilty about it, but deep down, I know that I am on the right path by getting my Masters in Reading. If I had any doubts about that, they were eased when I went looking for a student struggling with reading to tutor. Oh my goodness are there so many children who need help with reading. So while AWANA is good, and important, it isn't what he wants me doing right at this moment. And as hard as it is for me to accept, there are others who have taken over my role at AWANA while I am away. This chapter also helped me to realize that by always feeling like I have to be the one to do things and be in charge, I could be stealing someone else's blessing.

So if you haven't noticed, I am a Martha! I have the same spiritual handicap of busyness that left Martha unable to enjoy the intimacy of Jesus presence.

I cannot do everything, but I can do "one thing."
I cannot meet every need, but I can respond in obedience to the need the Spirit lays on my heart.
I cannot carry every load, but I can carry the load God has for me.
For His yoke, indeed, is easy, and His burden is truly light.

Friends, don't put off reading this book! I have had it laying in my house for a whole year. I wish I had read it sooner! Joanna Weaver was definitely God inspired to write this book. It isn't to late to join our online bookclub either!

It seems like after reading every chapter of this book I have a song in my head....
this time it was Lifesong by Casting Crowns.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

American Idol Season 10 New Judges rock

I spent the day doing homework, cooking a yummy new recipe that I will share later, going to AWANA and then relaxing with my favorite show!

Woohoo! The only show I ever watch on TV is back. I was really worried about the new judges but I gotta say it has been my favorite audition night ever. If this is any indication of how the season is going to go then WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! It is gonna be a fantastic season.

I have never watched the show for the judges. Simon actually really got on my nerves. All the naysayers have predicted this will be the last season since Simon is gone. I think we are off to a pretty good start with our new judges! Well with the exception of that one Brittney Spears wanna be that they put through tonight!

I love watching and trying to figure out who is going to go far. The past few years I have been right on. Chris Daughtry was my pick several years ago and well, I still think I was right on that one! What was America thinking???????

My faves for tonight were Robbie the 16 yr old, the 15 yr old girl, I didnt get to see the Kosovo girl but my friends say they loved her. My heart is pulling for Travis Orlando the last one on tonight...wow what a story and he can sing and is such a sweetie! Then his mom running in and raising her hand praising the Lord, she even said thank you God and it didn't get edited out! I was actually crying, I wasn't the only one because Ryan was crying too!

This was by far the best audition night ever. I usually don't enjoy the auditions much. This time they showed more of the singers and just a few of the bad singer clips...instead of killing us with tons of the crappy ones like the usually do.

So long Simon!! The show WILL go on without you!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Love Cooking

I was planning to post my Meal plan every Monday so I could use the cute Meal Plan Monday that I did so long ago...but per usual I forgot yesterday! This is the life of an overworked grad student...very FORGETFUL! That forgetfulness is the main reason I want to try and stay faithful at journaling on this blog!

An update about me and the Food Nanny! Well we haven't gotten along perfectly...but she is inspiring and I am trying my best to be more like her when it comes to meal time. I posted my menu for last week and was off to a good start by getting all my shopping done for two weeks of menus. Then wouldn't you know it...LIFE got in the way!

I didn't do so great of a job about planning my menu around evening taxi services and events. So we still ended up eating out once last week, and my menu got a little off kilter because I had chicken thawing the night we went out so we had to use that the next day...blah, blah, blah. So it hasn't taken me long to realize that we might have to be a little more flexible...every Thursday will not always be Mexican day, etc. But thats ok. Other than that my family is LOVING the Food Nanny and her recipes!

I have discovered that I am alot more like my Grandma Vinnie than I realized. She LOVED to cook. I have always dreaded cooking. But now I see that it is just i dreaded cooking the same ole stuff. When I made out our menu I planned it using all new recipes from the Food Nanny cookbook. I have enjoyed cooking dinner!! I think another part of that dreading to cook was simply not knowing what I was going to cook till the last minute and then not having the right ingredients when I did decide what I was fixing. With the Food Nanny's help I am no longer having that problem. I have two weeks worth of recipes ready and all of the ingredients for those recipes! It is amazing how just that simple prep of planning the menu, and immediately making the grocery list for those recipes and my once every two week trip to the store has made cooking enjoyable! I really am still in shock!

So today while waiting to pick up Tyler from school I was reading All You magazine. My next set of menus will be planned with some tips I learned in an article!

*Browse ads and sale fliers before making your menu. Try to plan your menu around things that are on sale.

*Gather coupons that match those sale ads and put them in an envelope.

*Sit down with the family calendar and map out easy, faster meals for busy evenings and schedule the more time consuming meals for the less busy evenings.

*Start a little notebook that you can keep in your purse to list prices, date and store so that you know the rock-bottom cost of items you buy most frequently. This will help me so much cause with my memory, I am constantly trying to figure out how much I usually pay to see if something is a good deal!

So here is our meal plan for this week:

Monday- Pork Barbecue, baked beans, mac and cheese
Tuesday- Hearty Chili and Homemade cornbread
Wed- Tuna Noodle Casserole, salad, cornbread
Thurs- Chicken Salsa Casserole, mexican rice w/fresh tomato
Fri- Savory Meatloaf, Baked Buttered Carrots, Mashed potatoes
Sat- Leftovers
Sun- Shepherds Pie, Spinach salad with fruit and cheese

Really excited for that Chicken salsa casserole

Monday, January 17, 2011

Busy Day and some Worship

We woke up bright and early to head to Clarksburg to have lunch with Papa and Barb, and pick up some memorabilia from the Mountaineer Military Museum for Nic's Social Studies project on the Attack of Pearl Harbor.

Brooke drove us to Clarksburg. It was her first time driving on the interstate. And her first time driving in a couple of weeks due to all this snow. She did really well on the interstate...I only had to grab the door handle and use my imaginary brake a couple of times. She has trouble staying in the center of the lane and tends to drift over across the line on the right. She is getting better though!

Tyler stayed home and helped Brent and Christina lay their hardwood floor. Tyler is a worker and loves to help people. Such a sweet boy!

We stopped to visit Grammy Betty for a a little while before heading back to Parkersburg. When it came time to leave we got STUCK in her snow covered driveway. It tooks us quite a long time, and a neighbors help to get out of there.

We arrived home much later than planned. Then Nic and I spent the evening working on his Social Studies project display board. He has to do his class presentation tomorrow. Then Social Studies Fair is Thursday. He had so much fun doing his project...just kept saying, this is so much fun! I have to admit that I enjoyed helping him with it. I have never really studied much about Pearl Harbor...I learned a bunch. He is so excited that Papa loaned him a real World War II Navy uniform to wear during his presentation! Having a Papa that owns a military museum really pays off when you are doing a war related social studies project! Pictures to come when we get the display all set up at the fair Thursday!

Yesterday was an amazing day at church. It is so awesome to see all of the things that we have been praying for all these years coming to fruition! We have an amazing Pastor who is truly God inspired. We started a Prayer journey on Sunday night and will be having a focus on prayer the rest of the year....super excited about that. There is no better way to draw closer to the Lord than by praying. Our Praise band is just getting better and better, and we are having SO MUCH FUN leading praise and worship!! Here is a video I made for worship...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Arise My Love

We went to Winter Jam last weekend and it was simply amazing as usual. 8000 people there to worship the Lord with some amazing bands. My favorite part of Winter Jam every year is Newsong singing Arise my Love. One of my favorite songs ever. The crowd ALWAYS erupts, not an eye dry and not a hand unraised when they sing "and the grave could not hold THE KING!!!"

I found this phenominal video that had me crying crocodile tears while watching it.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2: 20(NKJV)

How can she have this faith in God??

I have a personal relationship with HIM. Through that relationship he has revealed many things to make my faith in Him stronger and stronger!

Who would believe that a Rolex they came across just evolved on its own? No intelligent being would. It would be quite evident that a watchmaker had to be involved with its creation. The creation around us is just the same. The Master Creator....GOD... created the world and everything in it. This world did not just come to be from a big bang. Can people really believe that we evolved from monkeys? Why aren't monkeys still evolving and why aren't we evolving into something else?? Who created the monkeys to begin with??

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
~Hebrews 11:1

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fast and Easy Tortilla Soup

WOW! This is a super fast and extremely easy soup recipe from the Food Nanny website.

1 can corn
2 can 14 oz chicken broth or I used 2 14 oz cans of water and 4 chicken boullion cubes
1 can chunk chicken
1 can 15 oz black beans
1 can diced tomatoe and green chilis drained

Pour everything into a stock pot and simmer over medium heat until chicken is heated through. Serve with tortillas. Yum! And oh so fast!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Right Path

I know it is only normal to question if you are doing the right thing, following the right path, the path the God would have you to follow. During my past year quitting my preschool teaching/ director job and going to grad school full time I have asked this question many times...am I doing the right thing?

I know without a doubt that my gift is working with children. Always has been, even when I was a child myself. I have always had the gift of helping children understand things. Children have always been drawn to me. I have always been drawn to them.

I took another path for many years. I really enjoy business, direct sales, being my own boss. I did really well with my own business...if I could just keep scrapbooking companies from going out of business and therefore killing a business I worked so hard to build! Having that happen twice got me to questioning if I was on the right path, or if the Lord was shutting those doors because it wasn't the path he wanted me to follow.

After much prayer, I went back into teaching and working with children. While working in preschool my desire to teach children to read was strong so I decided to persue working on my masters in reading. Teaching reading was something I became extremely passionate about in my undergrad studies at Glenville. I had to tutor elementary students twice a week for one of my teaching reading classes. I LOVED it. The excitement that I got from helping a struggling child enjoy reading was exhilerating. There is nothing better than seeing a child unlock the mystery of reading and finally GET IT. Yet these past few months I keep questioning this path...is it really the right one?

So many opportunities have presented themselves, maybe not the easier path, because all of them take work...but maybe something I would enjoy more? Something that would bring in a better income? Kids can be a real pain sometimes...do I really want to spend my everyday dealing with other peoples unruly children? Do I really love kids as much as I think I do? My class last night left me questioning my ability to do this...there is so much to helping struggling readers...can I ever remember it all? Am I really cut out for this. Satan really had me on a roll there for a bit...and then the discouraging, stressful ride home in the snow didn't help matters ANY! The problem was, I hadn't even realized it was satan.

Why can't I ALWAYS remember that God is NOT the author of confusion?? Sometimes I am a little slow and need some help from others....

God confirmed alot of things for me today! It started out by reading Courtney Walsh's blog. Here is a little excerpt of her blog posting today:

"She grows. And grows. And suddenly, she looks in the mirror and sees that she’s wasted years running in the slow lane. She’s spent countless hours trying to please the people around her. People she thought mattered but didn’t. Trying to suppress her gifts, as if handing them back to God were a better idea than embracing them.

And she looks up to the sky and she asks, humbly…give me one more chance?

And God, in his infinite grace, bestows upon her a new opportunity. The chance to not shun the gifts he’d given her at the beginning, but to take them and use them… with all she had. To run faster than even she imagined she could."

That blog post ignited a fire in me. I wasn't really sure what was happening at first. I guess before reading that, I hadn't really realized this inner turmoil I have been having.

The Lord made sure to clear that all up for me real quick though! During class last night I learned that I had to tutor a struggling reader this semester. Starting out with a battery of assessments to detail the exact problems and then developing lessons to help overcome those problems. Everyone else in the class is taking one class at a time and are all currently still teaching. So they have no trouble finding a student who needs help. I was kinda worried about finding someone that I would have access to whenever I needed to get my school assignments done. I was worried about trying to do something at a school because I would have to work with the schools schedule and possibly not be able to get my hour sessions in during one sitting...which could make things complicated.

After prayer, I decided to post on my facebook to see if any of my friends happened to have a struggling reader I could tutor. WOW! Did I ever get a response! I had facebook messages, private messages and emails with people volunteering their child, a friends child, etc. One of my friends was willing to drive 2 hours to get help for her daughter. Many of these people saying that they had tried to find help but it is just so expensive to hire a tutor.

I went to bed and couldn't sleep just thinking of all those children struggling with reading, and wanting to be able to help them all. Some of these are children of my very good friends. While laying there, Courtney's words came back to me...."And God, in his infinite grace, bestows upon her a new opportunity. The chance to not shun the gifts he’d given her at the beginning, but to take them and use them… with all she had. To run faster than even she imagined she could."

I hear you God! I am on the right path, your path for me. While it may not be the path to make me the most money (have you looked at teachers pay??) It is certainly the path that can change lives.

I just had to get this all journaled so that when satan tries again to convince me I am not cut out for this I have it all here documented!!

Now to just figure out a way that I can help more of these kids. Is this idea of a ministry for struggling readers a path the Lord is leading me to follow? I know I don't have time for it right now with all of my classes, but it will certainly be at the top of my prayer list.

Thank you Jesus for being the light unto my path! Thank you Courtney Walsh for your inspiring words today! I love how the Lord uses other people to help you just when you need it, even when you didn't really know you needed it!

Snow Day 3

Another Snow Day here in WV. As I type the boys are outside building a snow fort. They have already built a snow igloo for the cat, but I am not allowed to take pictures just yet because they are adding an addition! Cat igloo picture to come tomorrow!

Brooke is curled up on the couch with her book. The girl is a book worm, which I love! Just goes to show that all those children's literature classes I took at Glenville while she was in the womb rubbed off on her!

I hate to admit it but I am sitting here at almost noon, still in my pajamas! I had a very stressful drive home from class last night. Therefore, I decided to allow myself some relaxation time to recover this morning!

The drive from Charleston to Parkersburg typically takes around an hour and fifteen minutes. Last night it was close to three hours. The roads were completely covered with snow. To make matters worse, the snow was coming down extremely hard. All you could see ahead was WHITE. A couple of times I got lucky and was able to follow tail lights. But for the most part, there were very few cars on the road, so I got to blaze the trail up Rt. 77. The snowflakes whizzing toward the windshield gave me the feeling that I was in a rocketship flying through the stars in outerspace. I am glad I didn't decide to become an astronaut because I didn't do so well in outer space! The whirling snow made me dizzy while I drove. I actually got car sick driving through the snow! It was horrible, and not a feeling I ever want to have again. So if Marshall decides to have class during another blizzard anytime soon, they will be doing it without me!

My friend Jacque is having to let go her fury best friend Jinger today. I haven't heard from Josie to find out how her fury Bubby is or if they had to let him go. Having so many friends saying goodbye to their pets has made me hug my fur baby Toby(pictured below) a little closer this week. Just like people, we never know how long we have with them...so we need to cherish every minute that we do have. Prayers for the Henry family today, because I know they are devastated with losing Jinger.

I better go get the hot chocolate on the stove and call in my popsicle people. I am sure they won't be happy about leaving their igloo construction....but it is FREEZING out there!

A goody from my Bible study today:If you don't feel like you're getting the love you should get, then maybe you should ask yourself if you're giving the love you should give. Why? Because you reap what you sow. If you give love, you'll receive love. If you give friendship, you'll receive friendship. If you give mercy, you'll receive mercy.

Galatians 6:7-9, Paul writes, Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Staying Warm at home

Woke up with a phone call of a two hour delay for wood county schools. An hour later school has been cancelled. There was no snow falling at the time but by 10:30 it was coming down hard. I had to take Brooke to the dermatologist at 11:30 and by that time the roads were already covered. So glad that we got back home safely and have no reason to go back out the rest of the day! Camera battery is dead today, but in the spirit of snow, here are some of our 2010 Winter Place tubing pictures(no laughing at Tyler's pink snow pants! He grew out of his and I hadn't realized it so he had to wear Brookes old ones. He is such a good sport and didn't even complain, although he was none to happy about wearing hot pink!)....

My neighbors had their twins this morning..what a great birthdate 1/11/11. Congratulations to the Butterfields. I can't wait to meet my new little neighbors. Please keep them in your prayers because they are preemies born at I believe 30 weeks.

While there is excitement at the birth of our new neighbors, cousin Josie and her family are mourning their sick kitty Bubby. It is going to be a rough day for them so prayers for them would be greatly appreciated...Bubby is more than just a cat, he is a part of their family.

It is hard to do school work with my kids at home, but I was thankfully able to complete an assignment and get my planner organized with all of the assigment dates. That whole planner thing got me a little freaked out....wow...I have some hard work this semester!

Had a little change of plans in our menu for this week! We are still getting used to the Food Nanny meal plans! We didn't cook our roast that was planned for Sunday so I needed to get it cooked. So I have had roast in the crock pot all day and the smell of it has made me starving all day long! I do not like using the crock pot when I am going to be home all day! The good news is I have all the ingredients for all of our meals for this week and next. I have to admit..it feels great knowing what's for dinner and knowing I have everything I need to get it on the table, even if someone else in the family has to cook it! Little Chef is itching to get in the kitchen on his own...so I just might have to plan something easy for him in my next set of menu plans!

If we get all the snow they are calling for I am sure I will have sledding pictures to post for tomorrow. There is enough snow on the ground from our last snow...but the kids are waiting for some fresh snow..picky sledders!! Better get my camera battery charged up!

Hoping to work on my Providence 365 challenge this evening.

A little goodie from my bible study today....
Where He leads, He commits to provide. Where He reroutes, He creates the necessary resources. Where He shuts doors, He opens another with greater Kingdom possibilities.

Praise the Lord!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Back to School

Spring semester of Grad school starts today. Can't say that I am real happy about it, but I am going to try not to complain to much. Instead, I am looking toward the bright side, by the end of summer I will have my masters degree!

We had a FANTABULOUS weekend! Friday evening was relaxing with the family. Saturday Brooke and I braved the snow and headed down to Charleston for the Winter Jam concert with some friends. It was awesome! 9 great bands! Red was amazing...loved it! Newsboys....WOW what a show! David Crowder Band was probably my next favorite. Kutless rocked! Fracesca Batestelli,Chris August, Chris Sly, Newsong, Sidewalk Prophets and Tony Nolan preaching. I am hoping to go again at the end of the month in Colombus...it was that awesome!! I didn't take my good camera because I was afraid they would have camera restrictions and didn't want to have to go back out in the cold to return it to the car. I was bummed because everyone else had their DSLRs and I just had my little point and shoot....but I still got some decent shots. I used some of the shots last night to create a worship video for church! If there is a Winter Jam coming near you....GO!!!!

Sunday we had an amazing worship service at church...the Lord was there without a doubt! Then Sunday night we had family fun night at the YMCA. My camera battery died so I didn't get to capture the exciting HORSE basketball tournament between Roberta (aka Michael Jordan, because of her game winning lay up), Angela, Betty and myself. We had fun and maybe even burned a few calories! The kids spent the whole evening in the pool. We all had a great time and came home worn out. Everyone overslept this morning...man we coulda used a 2 hr delay!

They are calling for 4 inches of snow to fall tonight on top of who knows how many inches of snow and ice that we already have. The kids just might get their snow day tomorrow!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

40 Things To Do Before 40

I remember when 40 seemed so OLD and so far away. I celebrated my 36th birthday this past December so 40 is creeping up pretty quick. I guess maybe it isn't that old after all.

I decided I wanted to set some goals of things that I wanted to do before I turn 40. Many of them are little things but I am a list girl. If I don't write them down. I will simply forget many of them. One of my favorite things to do with a list is cross things off as I complete them! 40 things seems like a lot...but I think most of them are achievable.

1. Learn to crochet using a pattern so that I can make more than a scarf and keep Grandma Vinnie's hobby alive in our family.

2. Take down the wall paper in my entryway and paint.

3. Paint the front door. (I hope to do this one this summer!)

4. Take my whole family on a cruise. Chad and I went on our first cruise for our 15th anniversary in 2010 and LOVED it. Can't wait to take my kids on one too!

5. Get out my paints and canvas and start painting.

6. Complete my Masters in Reading. (should be done with this one this summer if all goes as planned.)

7. Buy a Mustang...trying to convince Chad it would be the perfect graduation present when I get my Masters!

8. Take down the border in Tyler's room and get it painted the way he wants it.

9. Paint Nic's room

10. Redecorate Brooke's room.

11. Get new living room furniture.

12. Get new countertop in my kitchen.

13. Finish the landscaping on my back hill.

14. Get at least a couple of years completely scrapbooked.

15. Make Brooke a Baby Scrapbook.

16. Visit my last living Grandma at least weekly.

17. Spend more quality time with my parents.

18. Get a scrapbook layout published. Which will require me to actually submit something, which requires me to also take the time to scrapbook!

19. Get better at sending cards to people. Birthday, get well, thank you, etc.

20. Get together with old friends that I havent seen in years. We have all been so busy with our kids and life that I have so many friends I never get to see in person. Certainly in the next 4 years I can catch up with some of you!

21. Keep a journal daily. Which is what I am attempting to do with this blog.

22. Find something to help my memory...I am really worried about how forgetful I have become.

23. See my husband with a new knee. He has suffered with this bad knee long enough.

24. Learn to play the piano. I have always wanted to do this. Somehow I am gonna find the time but it will have to be when grad school is over!

25. Go to UT to see my friend Sunny. Or at least meet up with her somewhere for even a weekend!

26. Paint my laundry room.

27. Make new seat cushions for my breakfast nook.

28. Practice saying “I am forty” so that I can learn to not freak out a little while I say it.

29. Create a family room/ gameroom in the basement. I have a start on this but we are gonna need some furniture and a lot more work. And getting rid of some stuff.

30. Get rid of things that I keep saving because I might need them someday. I have started this too....can't wait till yard sale weather! Maybe I will sell enough to go toward my new living room furniture in #11!

31. Learn to be a lot more like Jesus.

32. Spend at least 15 minutes a day at the very least in God's Word. Which should help with #31!

33. Keep a book list of the books I read each year. (Gonna start a blog post with that so I can just update it when I complete a book.) I have wanted to keep this list for quite some time but I just always forget to write down the books when I am done.

34. Try my best to avoid gossip. Man this one is so hard because it is everywhere. But in order to accomplish #31 I am gonna have to get better at walking away!

35. Take my kids to the Exhibition Coal Mine.

36. Take my kids to Greenbank National Radio Astronomy Observatory. I had to spend a week there during my undergrad studies at Glenville for a science class when Brooke was a baby. I have always wanted to take the kids there sometime before or after a Kumbrabow camping trip since it is so close.

37. Do something nice for someone every day. Even if it is just letting someone out in traffic, opening the door for someone, etc. I really need to learn to slow down and look for ways to serve others.

38. Sell a piece of artwork on Etsy. Which again requires me to do said art work and then also to set up an Etsy shop....another item which will definately have to wait till after the grad classes are complete!

39. Stop complaining.

40. Get more involved helping my boys accomplish their Boy Scount goals.

The Baby Hog - That's Me!

Oct 16th 2010 we welcomed a new little princess to the family. My sister Julie had her first baby, little miss Aubrey Anne Reagin.

It has been 15 years since we have had a baby girl in our family. Mom and Dad had 3 girls before they finally got their boy...but in the grandchildren department they are loaded up with 5 boys and now 2 girls!

My sister Christina is expecting her second baby this coming April....and it's another boy.

So many of my friends and family are having babies. People keep asking if I would like another one. So here it is for the world to read, NO WAY! I am perfectly content with my three wonderful children, and I don't feel like I can give them enough individual attention the way it is.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE babies. However, at this stage in my life I am content to love on my niece and soon to come new nephew, and all my friends babies. They call me a baby hog, but I know how fast they grow up and I love cuddling, and bonding with them when they are babies. Just wish my princess Aubrey lived closer than 8 hrs away.

Grandma McDonald is in Atlanta babysitting because Julie had to go back to work this week. Grandma is going to go down to stay for her at least a month to prolong Aubrey having to start daycare. It breaks my heart that she is going to have to be in daycare. I was so blessed to be able to stay at home with my babies, or have family here to watch them. Saying lots of prayers for Julie because I know it is hard on her having to leave her little sweetie.

Friday, January 07, 2011

The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner

Had a lazy Thursday hanging out with my heating pad because I didn't feel well. We spent the evening celebrating at the Court of Honor for Luke, one of Tyler's fellow boy scouts, who earned his Eagle rank! Got me very excited to help Tyler continue to work toward Eagle, he has been working hard, but I think seeing a friend accomplish it really motivates all of the boys to work harder.

Dinners are planned for the next month thanks to my awesome new book!

The great thing about the Food Nanny is that she helps you plan out your meals, and the cookbook is organized by themes. She reccomends that you have a food theme for each day of the week. My kids are really excited about this and got super stoked when looking at our menu for next week! They are excited to help in the kitchen too. Since Nic has decided he either wants to be a baseball player or a chef when he grows up...he is the most excited about helping in the kitchen! We will see how long that lasts.

I printed out the Menu plan from the Food Nanny's website. I went through the cookbook which is organized by these themes and built our menu for the next month.

Then I printed out the shopping list from the Food Nanny site, which is organized by product type, why did I never think to do this before??? That shopping list is what I have been needing for a long time...so much better than my long list of unorganized stuff and having to run all over the store when I get to the bottom of the list and realize I forgot something at the back of the store. (last time I was at the grocery store I had to run back to places I had already been like 3 times! UGH!)

So here is what's on the menu for this week. I am gonna list the pg. numbers from the cookbook in case you decide to get the book, but you can find some of these recipes on a new food nanny site from BYU. I can't get anything to print from this site for some reason...I hope they get it fixed soon though because it would make the food nanny meal planning so much easier!

Monday- Comfort Food- Beef Stroganoff (46), Mashed potatoes, carrots, applesauce.

Tuesday- Soup- 6 Can Tortilla Soup (Recipe on Food Nanny Site), beer bread, mandarin oranges.

Weds- Meatless- Bow Tie Pasta and Cherry Tomato (7), Garlic Bread, salad, Pears.

Thurs- Mexican- 3 Cheese Quesadillas (114), refried beans, mexican rice, apple sauce

Fri- Family Favorites- Sloppy Joe, french fries, fruit cocktail, salad.

Sat- family night out

Sun- Family Traditions- Crock Pot Roast (172), carrots, potatoes, red and greens salad (191)

Monday also starts the new Spring Semester of graduate school...so the chaos will begin and we can see how well this meal planning helps out. Chad has committed to sticking to the meal plan and following the recipes if he ends up having to be in charge of dinners this semester! He swears he can't cook...but I think if we have all the ingredients and he just has to follow the recipe, he will do fine, and the "Chef" aka Nic can help him if all else fails!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

2010 Book List

Every year for the past several years I have meant to keep a list of the books that I read. Especially since my memory is getting so bad. Sometimes my mom or sister will give me a book and I will be halfway through it before I realize it is one that I have already read. There are too many good books to read to be rereading ones that I have already read!! Plus it will just be neat to know how many books I actually read in one year....I have never kept track.

I am sure it will not be as many books this year due to the lack of time for pleasure reading while be a full time grad student. No, I will not be adding the textbooks to my book list! UGH....those I do not want to remember for the most part!

1. The Telling by Beverly Lewis - This is book 3 in the Seasons of Grace series. I read the other two from the series in December of 2010 when Fall semester finished.

I love every single Beverly Lewis book I have ever read. She is one of my favorite authors. I am pretty sure I have read every book she has written, aside from her youth books, and her newest release The Thorn, book 1 of the Rose trilogy which I am waiting for at the library!

2. Love Letters: Love Notes/Cookie Schemes/Posted Dreams/eBay Encounter (Heartsong Novella Collection) I actually started this toward the end of December but I finished it last night! Great book. I love these short stories that entwine the same characters.

I will be updating this list for my personal records as I complete more books.

A New Year 2011

A new year brings a fresh start it seems. So many people are figuring out their new years resolutions, promising themselves that this year really will be different and they really will stick with their goals. I decided that I was NOT going to make a new years resolution this year. However, since the start of the year I have been pondering several things that I would really like to see change this new year. I guess the newness of a new year really does naturally make you want to make some changes.

1. Being a full time Graduate student was a new thing for me last year. It was a lot of hard work last semester having 18 credit hours. There was barely time for anything else. So many evenings I was deep into my school work trying to meet deadlines. So many evenings it would be dinner time and my poor husband would be scrambling in the kitchen trying to put something together for dinner...or just running to grab some fast food.

Before this semester starts with it's 15 credit hours, I have started meal planning for the next month. I have my daily dinners planned right down to the recipe page number. I even have the two week shopping list for these meals planned out for the next month as well. All this thanks to my friend
Sunny telling me about "The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner" cookbook and meal planning that she has been using! I ordered my book on Tuesday from Amazon and had it the next day! So Wed when I got home from AWANA I sat down and started planning out our dinners for the next month. The Food Nanny makes it so easy! I will be sharing more about that in future blog posts because.......

2. I want to be better about journaling this year. I have been so concerned about my memory. It seems that I can't remember anything these days. I am not getting any younger, but jeesh I just celebrated my 36th birthday in December...am I really old enough to be forgetting so much all the time? Some peoople say it is due to having so much on my plate with graduate schoool and raising three kids. Well at any rate, I hope to take a few minutes a day to try and journal a little here on my blog. Not only will it help me to remember, it will be a recording of some of the things going on in my life which is why I originally began this blog to begin with, another thing my friend
Sunny inspired me to do! I hope this will also help our long distant family stay a little better in tune with the things going on in our family.

3. Bible Study. I go to church every Sunday Morning, Sun Evening and Wednesday night....but that isn't enough. I like to do bible study every day. This past couple of years with me working at the preschool and then starting graduate schoo,l my bible study has been lacking. So this year I am determined to get back to daily bible study. I have started the Providence 365 challenge at
Faithsisters. My goal is to complete at the very least, the bible study and journaling for this challenge each week this year. If I am lucky I will also be able to keep up with making a page each week so I can get it bound in a book at the end of the year. I taught myself to digital scrapbook earlier this week while I have some time off between semesters. I did some digital tutorials that my friend Karma recommended. It was pretty time consuming but I have completed my first two pages for Providence 365 using photoshop elements!

For someone who wasn't planning to make new years resolutions this year, I sure have quite a few! As the Spring semester begins next week, we shall see how it goes. There will be no more of these lazy days sitting and relaxing that is for sure! But only this semester and then the summer semester and then I will have my Masters in Reading!

Happy New Year! I hope we all have a very blessed 2011!